Today, I want to give you some tips for handling sickness so that you don’t lose progress when sleep training your child with special needs. Anyone who is ill does not sleep as well as they normally do.
The tip? Do your best to stay the course.
It’s realistic to expect that your sick child is going to have some night wake-ups. How you handle those wake-ups will make a big difference. One of the big mistakes parents make is that they start to intervene too much — they go in, they go back to rocking, feeding, patting, etc. to get their child asleep again.
I understand why – no one likes seeing when their child’s sick. I’m not saying don’t comfort your child. You can absolutely go in. Have a quick cuddle, wipe her nose, give her a drink of water, but don’t linger too long. Your child with special needs has started that journey to independent sleep.
You don’t want to “un-do” any of the things that you’ve worked so hard to put in place. Going back and re-starting the process will be tougher the second time around.
This includes bringing your child into bed with you again. Again, I understand – you want to comfort your sick child. If you’re really concerned about your child through the night, it is much better for you to go to your child than to bring them to you.
In cases where a child is having really high fever, extreme congestion, or frequent vomiting throw down an air mattress in their room. You absolutely should keep an eye on him or her.
Try not to do it for any longer than three nights or you might find yourself six months later still sleeping beside their bed. Obviously, if they continue to have high fever for 3 nights, then you must make sure to take your child to the doctor.
Even if everything does falls apart, cut yourself a bit of slack. It will happen! As soon as your child is well again, just get right back on track with their sleep training program.
Just start again.
You know that your child can sleep on their own – they’ve shown you already!
It’s just a matter of giving your little one the space they need to start using their own skills once again.